SMU's MMIAM Program Cultivates a Sense of Community

The master’s degree program in International Arts Management allows students from across the globe to learn from one another and engage with communities both locally and abroad.


SMU’s Master of Management in International Arts Management (MMIAM) program offers a unique opportunity for students to collaborate and study across multiple countries. With a mission to train a new generation of managers engaged in the international art world, the program gives hands-on business experience and fosters a global community committed to making a positive impact.

The MMIAM program brings together students from around the world with experience in all arts industries, from the performing arts to museums. The program creates a vibrant cultural experience while also contributing to local communities through arts fundraising projects.

This year’s MMIAM cohort includes students from the U.S., Canada, Argentina, Colombia, Italy and China. Students started off their journeys at SMU’s campus in Dallas. In January, they’ll go on to study at HEC Montreal, a business school in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. From there, the MMIAM students will study in Colombia and China before finishing their studies in Italy.

“Our U.S. participants have been instrumental in helping everyone settle in here,” says Megan Heber, Professor of Practice at MMIAM. “In each country, our local students will guide their international peers, showcasing their homeland and helping them navigate the cultural intricacies. It's a unique arrangement that doesn't happen every year, and this batch is particularly special.”

Bryan Arevalo, a student from California, says he gains critical knowledge from both the program’s esteemed professors as well as his classmates, who bring diverse professional backgrounds and cultural perspectives to the table.

“My favorite things to do in life are to travel and to learn, be a forever student and of course, learn through other people and their different cultures,” Arevalo says. “I felt like this was going to be a more enriching program for me, where I could not just learn firsthand but also learn through my peers and their experiences with their professional lives that they had abroad, not just the United States. That's mainly what led me to join this program.”

Maria Florencia Giulio, an MMIAM student who hails from Argentina, says she appreciates the chance to learn from her peers and share the knowledge she has gained from working in arts and cultural financing in Latin America and Europe.

"I am a social entrepreneur and impact investing expert and advisor, so I'm very passionate about creating a more sustainable creative economy,” Giulio says. "I'm studying in this program... mainly to have an international approach to the art ecosystem... In my cohort, I’ve had the opportunity to share [the experience] with two other entrepreneurs and that's amazing, because we are exchanging learnings from our ventures.”

MMIAM students also get hands-on experiences in arts management through projects where they engage with the local arts community. As part of their fundraising in the arts class, students worked in groups to choose a local arts nonprofit, secure permission to fundraise on their behalf and collaborate with the organization to raise funds.

Arevalo worked with his group to collaborate with The Cedars Union, a Dallas-based non-profit arts incubator focused on nurturing artists and cultivating a vibrant arts community. The group of MMIAM students helped to fundraise and organize the Cedars Open Studio event in November, which showcased 16 resident artists alongside over 40 community artists.

With real-world group projects, a diverse group of classmates and academic stops around the world, the MMIAM students have countless opportunities to learn and engage with local and international communities.

"For me, in this program, my ambition is to continue on my career as a cultural entrepreneur in the sector,” Arevalo says. “I'm trying to focus on the skills and the culture, the particular cultures that each of these countries proposes.”